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Did NAILS Just Release the Best Hardcore Album Of the Year?

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If I was the ‘You’ that they are writing about, I’d be pretty scared. NAILS have been creating some of the most hard hitting music that hasn’t diminished over their previous two albums, Unsilent Death and Abandon All Life. This trend of an all out assault has carried over into their latest LP, You Will Never Be One Of Us (YWNBOOU) which gives us that familiar NAILS sound but turned up to 11. Something new that NAILS had done this time around was that they filmed a mini documentary around their time creating and recording the album with their own thoughts on the record, their influences and what it takes to create such a visceral album.

I think one of my favourite quotes that I took from the videos was something like, “Damn let’s just listen to this 11 minute song to get to that one minute hard ass riff. All we do is write that hard ass riff.”  And that is exactly what they did: they managed to blend breakdowns, solos and some of the most devastating riffs in a way that sounds so natural I don’t know how I can listen to some of my favourite bands without thinking, “Nails did it better”.

The opening track/title track You Will Never Be One Of Us takes off like a bullet from a gun and throws us straight into what you will be expecting throughout the album. A minute and a half that is just a big fuck you to fake people and people who are in the scene for the wrong reasons. Blast beats and a double bass that screams just as loud as the vocals.

“Our new record has some new twists and turns that are built off the foundation we laid with our previous albums, as well as a lot of familiarity that you’ve come to expect from NAILS. You Will Never Be One Of Us is for us, for our fans, and for anybody else who feels disgusted and fed-up with social-climbing impostors, trying to leech off of anything they’ve ever dedicated themselves to. I can say with 110% certainty: We will not let you down.” – Todd Jones.

Speaking of vocals, in my opinion this is my favourite sound that Todd Jones has had over the previous albums. Unsilent Death was very low and more guttural, while Abandon All Life was higher pitched and more abrasive. YWNBOOU blends these two sounds together along with a heavy punk and metal influence that just sounds so right.

One of the top songs in my opinion is Made to Make You Fall, which is also one of the shortest song on the record clocking in at 55 seconds. How they packed in those guitar solos and the breakdown at the start is beyond me, but I thank them for it as it brings me back to a time when Slayer played in my room 24/7 and I’ll be dreaming about that intro for nights to come.

The

guitars on this album bring in a chaotic sound that just make you feel tense. It’s like watching horror movie and just waiting for the killer to pop out; it’s the perfect build up and even when he doesn’t reveal himself it’s still that unsettling feeling that drills into your mind. It’s just creepy and I love it.

You Will Never Be One Of Us album art. Source.

Savage Intolerance was the second single that the band released before the album release and along with the title track, this album really shows just how hard NAILS goes. If someone was to ask me what is NAILS? I would show them this song as it has everything, even a perfectly executed breakdown, that will be sure to tear down some venues.

The final song on the record, They Come Crawling Back  changes the pace of the record completely by extending the track time to 8 minutes. After listening to an album that is packed full of quick songs you would think that having such a long song might be too much for a band like NAILS as you would not think that they could capture and hold that intensity for the whole track length. But they do, and it’s amazing. The song has a slow build with screeching guitars and hammering drums that is just building the atmosphere and you are clambering for that release of unhinged power. When the double bass and the vocals kick in, it slams you into 6th gear and you are full throttle throughout the rest of the track.

I believe that this is NAILS’ best album to date and it is up there with my favourite albums of the year. The clean recording, mixing and producing by Kurt Ballou and the intensity that the whole band has brought to this album puts it in a league of its own and will decimate any band that tries to take its spot. If you love whammy bar distortions this album is for you.